Friday, June 03, 2011

French Peace Plan: Two States for Two People

In an effort to jump-start stagnant peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, the French government has released a new framework for beginning negotiations -- notable because (like President Obama), it explicitly stipulates "two states for two peoples" -- in other words, a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people, and an Israeli state for the Jewish people.

Also like President Obama (and like every single serious peace proposal by any party, for that matter), borders would be negotiated on basis of '67 lines, with agreed-upon swaps. It also is -- surprisingly -- neutral on the question of Jerusalem as a capital for both states, and delays negotiation on that question as well as on the issue of refugees until after borders and security arrangements are finalized. East Jerusalem is a red-line for Palestinians the same way that "right of return" is for Israelis, but I don't care if each side holds out for a favorable agreement on its issue of choice, so long as they get back to the table and start talking.

Overall, the parameters of the French framework are a step closer to Netanyahu's demands, and he'd be a fool not to jump on it -- assuming, that is, he is actually genuine about trying to actualize a two-state solution that envisions an independent Palestine alongside Israel. That assumption, of course, is far from clear.

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